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Email Marketing  |  5 min read

Why—and when—you should send a welcome email

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James A. Martin

Nearly everyone complains they get too much email. So, if you send a new customer or newsletter subscriber a ‘welcome’ email, won’t it be ignored? Or worse: Will the recipient delete it? Mark it as spam?

Probably not. In fact, research shows your welcome email is likely to be opened. Here's why you should send that first email.

  • Studies show that subscribers to your newsletter or emails are the most engaged with your brand within the first 48 hours of subscribing. So, it is critical that you start to build that relationship by sending an immediate welcome message to set expectations and ask them to take the next step. Despite this, 41 percent of brands don't send a welcome email to new subscribers during that crucial 48-hour window.

  • Open rates for "triggered emails," which include welcome messages, were 69 percent higher than "business as usual" emails, says a 2017 study from Epsilon.

  • In another study, welcome emails had an average open rate of 50 percent—which means they’re 86 percent more effective than email newsletters. (Email Marketing Blog, 2016). Other research from Experian Marketing Services shows open rates as high as 58 percent.

  • Consumers who receive welcome emails are 33 percent more likely to engage with the brand that sent it, according to Email Marketing Blog.

  • After making a first purchase from a website or signing up for emails and newsletters, many consumers today expect a welcome email. By not sending one, or sending one days later, you’re sending the wrong message: that you didn’t notice your new customer. Or worse, you don’t value them.

So clearly, you should send a welcome email to your new customer or subscriber immediately—while you’re still top of mind. If you wait a day or two, you may have lost the customer/subscriber’s interest.

  • Depending upon the contents, welcome emails can get you off on the right foot with your new customers. It can help establish the beginnings of an ongoing relationship.

With an attractive offer included in your welcome email, you might even get your new customer to make a purchase. Again, try to maximize that 48-hour window of opportunity in which you have your new customer’s full attention.

  • Despite the universal moaning about email overload, most consumers don’t mind getting an email from brands. Sixty-one percent said they like being contacted by brands via email, according to the 2017 Adobe Consumer Email Survey Report.

  • Marketing email, in general, is effective. Marketers at small, medium and large organizations believe email marketing is the most effective way to increase awareness as well as customer acquisition, conversion, and retention, according to Gigaom Research. And two-fifths of respondents to the Adobe survey said marketing emails provide an extra incentive to buy.

Welcome email tips

For a complete guide to what your welcome email should look like, check out “What to Include in Every Welcome Email” and download “The Perfect Welcome Email” e-book. But here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.

  • Include links for more information. Your welcome email should be formatted in HTML so that it looks similar to a page on your website. Include links or tabs in the email, such as a "Sale" tab, to drive readers to areas of your site they might be interested in.

  • Be mobile-friendly. In addition to HTML formatting, your welcome email should display well on desktop as well as mobile screens. Increasingly, consumers check email on their smartphones. The Radicati Group predicts that by 2018, 80 percent of email users will access their email accounts via a mobile device.

  • Consider making the welcome email the first in a series. Obviously, you don’t want to wear out your welcome. But you might send a new customer a series of welcome emails, perhaps one a day for a few days, that provide value to the recipient in some way. The emails would be designed to help educate customers on how to use your product or service. For example, if you provide at-home computer repair and training, you might follow up the welcome email to new Mac customers with a series of emails offering tips about Apple’s latest macOS update.

  • Don’t forget to include a call-to-action. What do you want your new customer or subscriber to do after reading the welcome email? Learn more about a product? Follow your company on Instagram? Watch your latest video? Whatever it is, include a link or button at the bottom of the email. The goal is to help recipients respond to your CTA.

  • Make it easy to unsubscribe. You don’t want your new customer to unsubscribe from future emails, for obvious reasons. But you don’t want to make them angry, either. So, place an unsubscribe link at the very bottom of your welcome email. And don’t make it so tiny that it’s nearly illegible.

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